With the approach of the new year, business owners are looking ahead to make sure their brands remain relevant and poised for growth in the coming 12 months. The question is: How do you accomplish that? Larry Light, a global brand revitalization expert and CEO of the business-consulting firm Arcature, has some timely suggestions.
“To have outstanding relevance, a brand must stay true to its essential heritage yet be up-to-date and contemporary,” Light said. “Great brands are consistent at the core. But, they keep their core promise relevant to changing needs. Of course, there’s more to being a great brand than just remaining relevant. A great brand also is exceedingly well known, has superior integrity, is remarkably skilled, deploys undeniable leadership, and has great aspirations. Great brands know they may never get to that state of perfection, but they will not aim for anything less.”
Here, Light offers 10 “commandments” for business leaders to follow as they strive to make 2018 a more successful year.
- Thou shalt always put the customer first. Be a consumer-focused, demand-driven organization.
- Thou shalt make the brand the centre of the business process. Business management and brand management will always be inseparable processes.
- Thou shalt make the brand promise the ‘road map’ to the future, and it will drive everything you do.
- Thou shalt build your business with the goals of more customers more often, more brand loyalty and more profits.
- Thou shalt promise only what you can deliver, and always deliver what you promise.
- Thou shalt recognize and reward those who produce the right results and do it in the right way.
- Thou shalt make every employee a ‘brand champion.’
- Thou shalt create a brand culture, supporting your shop with appropriate education and training programs.
- Thou shalt recognize that nothing happens until it happens to your customers.
- Thou shalt build brand trust. People look for ‘touchstones’ of trust. Trust is critical for enduring, profitable growth. Trust is the essential multiplier of defining extraordinary brand value.
“One thing brands always have to worry about is complacency,” Light added. “Companies that fall into complacency due to their belief in the power of their brand usually lose – because other brands are innovating all the time.”
About the author. Larry Light, a global brand revitalization expert, is co-author with Joan Kiddon of The Paradox Planet: Creating Brand Experiences for the Age of I and Six Rules for Brand Revitalization. He’s also the Chief Executive Officer of Arcature, a marketing consulting company that’s advised a variety of marketers in packaged goods, technology, retail, hospitality, automotive, corporate and business-to-business, as well as not-for-profit organizations. Prior to consulting, Light worked on the advertising agency side as a senior executive at both BBDO, and was CEO of the International Division at Ted Bates Advertising. He was global Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s from 2002-2005, where he was involved in one of the most recognized brand business turnarounds. From 2010 to 2014, Light was Chief Brands Officer of the global hotels group IHG.